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Council of Europe anti-torture Committee publishes report on Luxembourg

The Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) published today the report on its visit to Luxembourg which took place from 28 January to 2 February 2015.
17/09/2015
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During the visit, the CPT’s delegation focused in particular on the situation of persons in police custody, prisoners in the Luxembourg Prison (CPL) and minors placed in the two facilities of the State Socio-Educational Centre (CSEE) located in Dreiborn and Schrassig.  In addition, the delegation visited for the first time the new Holding Centre for Foreigners in Findel.

The report notes that most of the detained persons met by the CPT did not report any ill-treatment by the police. However, a number of allegations were received of verbal abuse and excessively tight handcuffing.  As regards safeguards against ill-treatment, the CPT recommendations to the Luxembourg authorities include that all persons detained by the police be given access to a lawyer from the very outset of their deprivation of liberty.

Further, the CPT calls upon the authorities to put an end to the practice of handcuffing detained persons to fixed objects and recommends that each police establishment be equipped with premises suitable for detention. The security cells in police stations, "cages" measuring less than 2m², should no longer be used as facilities for questioning suspects or for prolonged detention.

Concerning the CPL, the CPT did not receive any allegations of physical ill-treatment by staff.  That said, the Committee noted a worrying problem of inter-prisoner violence and urges the authorities to redouble their efforts to prevent the occurrence of such incidents.

The report emphasises the good material conditions in the CPL as well as the quality of the detention regime of sentenced prisoners and a number of remand prisoners, and encourages the authorities to offer purposeful activities to all remand prisoners. However, the CPT deplores the unsatisfactory care provided for inmates suffering from serious psychiatric disorders within the CPL and recommends that a specialised hospital facility be set up for these inmates as a matter of high priority.

The CPT also deplores the fact that, despite the repeated commitments made by the Luxembourg authorities, minors continue to be detained in the CPL; it recommends that the security unit intended for this purpose be opened rapidly at the CSEE facilities in Dreiborn.

With regard to the two facilities of the CSEE, the CPT received no allegations of ill-treatment by staff. On the other hand, problems of violence between minors were observed at the Dreiborn and Schrassig facilities.

Material conditions appeared to be very good at the Schrassig Centre, but steps should be taken at the Dreiborn Centre to improve living conditions.
 
As regards the Holding Centre for Foreign Nationals, the Committee was favourably impressed by the material conditions, the activities on offer and the relations between inmates and staff. Nevertheless, the report provides some suggestions for improving staff training and discipline.
 
Finally, the CPT notes the creation of secure rooms at Luxembourg Central Hospital (CHL) within an appropriate unit but deplores the fact that, when outside this unit, detained persons were shackled to their bed and also that police officers were constantly present during medical examinations. The Committee recommends that these practices be discontinued at the CHL and in the country's other hospitals.

The visit report has been published at the request of the Luxembourg authorities and is available on the CPT’s website: http://www.cpt.coe.int.

The response of the Luxembourg authorities to the report is expected in February 2016.


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